Reddick, McCann Back McCullers' Return
5-2 Win Recaptures Momentum

Reddick: Flashes the leather
(c) Associated Press
It's left to the individual to decide whether Josh Reddick has truly lived up to the free agent contract he signed last winter. The Georgia native is in the first of a four-year deal to be paid $13 million per year and yet he has hardly stood out amongst Houston's stars.

That wasn't the case Saturday night in Seattle. The outfielder keyed the Astros' 5-2 victory over the Mariners to solidify their stranglehold on first place in the AL West. Reddick made two diving catches in the outfield and struck a two-run homer - his eighth - to pace the attack.

Lance McCullers, in his first game since June 8th, won his seventh game but was pulled in the sixth after 76 pitches as he struck out eight and walked nobody. Will Harris took over and held the M's just one run after inheriting two baserunners with nobody out. A.J. Hinch turned to Tony Sipp, Luke Gregerson, Chris Devenski and Ken Giles to finish the final three innings and, while it wasn't technically a save situation, Giles still needed to strike out the go-ahead run at the plate in the ninth to end the game.

Reddick's two-run shot in the third off Sam Gaviglio flew over the center field fence to open the scoring. After Seattle crept within a run in the sixth, Houston made some room for themselves in the seventh. George Springer singled and Reddick reached on catcher's interference. With two away, Carlos Correa punched a single against Steve Cishek to fill the bases. Next up, Brian McCann laced a drive toward the right field corner which a diving Mitch Haniger could not come up with. All three runners scored to give the Astros a 5-1 cushion.

Despite another Ken Giles scare, the Astros, clad in rainbow throwbacks, held on to even the series at one game apiece. The finale will be Sunday afternoon at 3:10 Central time. Young Francis Martes (2-0) will try to claim the series for Houston as he vies against Ariel Miranda (6-3) who had a loss and a no-decision in two earlier starts this year against the Astros.

Before the game, to make room for McCullers, the Astros sent pitcher Joe Musgrove back to AAA Fresno. That's not surprising given his poor outing on Friday night. Martes and fellow rookie David Paulino have been impressive and may be battling for a rotation future once Charlie Morton and Dallas Keuchel are back from their injury rehabs.

Brad Peacock, originally slated for Sunday's start, was placed on the paternity list, so the Astros recalled reliever Jordan Jankowski from Fresno.

- Bob Hulsey